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Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 13:00 UK

Gaddafi sues Swiss over detention

Hannibal Gaddafi (2005)
It was not Hannibal Gaddafi's first brush with European law

Libya's government is suing the Swiss authorities and demanding compensation over last year's arrest of one of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's sons.

Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife were detained last July after being arrested at their luxury hotel in Geneva accused of beating two of their servants.

The couple were released on bail within days and returned to Libya, but the case infuriated Tripoli.

The Swiss foreign ministry declined to comment on the legal action.

The Gaddafis are demanding 50,000 Swiss francs ($44,000; £30,000) in compensation, said their Swiss lawyer Charles Poncet.

No public interest justified that the Gaddafi couple should have been arrested in this manner, which had the sole aim of humiliating them
Court documents

According to AFP news agency, the couple wants another 474,000 Swiss francs ($412,000; £280,000) for material damages.

"The police did not hesitate to use physical force and to act with brutality, despite the absence of resistance," according to documents lodged at the court, reported AFP.

"No public interest justified that the Gaddafi couple should have been arrested in this manner, which had the sole aim of humiliating them."

The arrest sparked retaliatory measures from Tripoli, including the cancelling of oil deliveries, withdrawing billions of dollars from Swiss banks, refusing visas to Swiss citizens and recalling some of its diplomats.

It was not Hannibal Gaddafi's first brush with the law.

In 2005 he was convicted by a court in France of assaulting his girlfriend.



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